Why low-car Portlanders should care about expanding taxi permits

taxi by thomas hawkLow-car Portlanders have the most to gain from a city council vote Wednesday that could expand Portland’s artificially anemic taxi market, a low-car transportation advocate argued Sunday.

That’s because, unlike tourists, those of us who live here and catch the occasional taxi actually have the chance to make intelligent choices among competing taxi services. And as Zef Wagner reports on Portland Transport, there’s an important vote this week that could finally make Portland’s taxi market more competitive:

As many have pointed out, Portland has one of the most restrictive taxi policies in the country. We have fewer taxis per person and pay more for them than most other cities. … We now have three car-share companies in Portland, with more to come in the future. Bike rentals can be found all over the city. Even in the realm of public transportation, we have employer shuttles and school shuttles that supplement TriMet. Why should taxis be exempt from the need to compete and innovate?

Many people dismiss taxis as unimportant given new car-sharing options like Car2go, but Car2go has its limitations: it requires a sober driver; it requires a membership; cars are not always available nearby; the "home area" only covers inner neighborhoods; and the cars are very small.

Zef closes by spelling out exactly how interested citizens can weigh in before Wednesday’s vote.

Creative Commons Portland taxi photo by Thomas Hawk.

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